In recent years, a crackdown by Israeli authorities on human rights NGOs – particularly those focused on Palestinian rights – has caused considerable concern internationally, attracting attention in both the media and at the governmental level.
Yet, perhaps the most egregious case of Israel’s targeting of the humanitarian sector has been taking place over the last three years with almost zero coverage.
In June 2016, Israeli authorities arrested Mohammed Halabi at the Gaza Strip’s Erez crossing. Halabi, a father of five, was working as the Gaza director for the international humanitarian NGO World Vision, and was returning from a meeting in Jerusalem at the time of his arrest. Read more
Last Friday, the Israeli government announced that it had suspended $6m in funding to the United Nations (UN), a move described as “an act of protest” against the recent Security Council resolution condemning illegal settlements.
But is this just the opening salvo in what could be an unprecedented offensive?
“Judging by how things are being handled in Israel at the moment, anything or any idea is possible, ” said Israeli political journalist and blogger Tal Schneider. “Seeing the government’s responses to Resolution 2334, I thought, ‘Are we going to leave the UN?’,” she told Al Jazeera. Read more
A senior Gaza-based employee of US-headquartered charity World Vision appeared in an Israeli court on Tuesday, charged with numerous counts of ‘supporting terrorism’.
According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), Mohammad al-Halabi infiltrated the charity on behalf of Hamas, redirecting tens of millions of dollars to Al-Qassam Brigades over many years.
But to the consternation of Halabi’s lawyer, family, and colleagues, as well as diplomats and human rights workers, the trial – which reconvenes in October – is being conducted entirely in secret. Read more
In recent days, Israeli authorities have announced charges against two, Gaza-based employees of international NGOs – one from World Vision, one from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Each individual faces accusations of varying degrees of assisting Hamas.
Many have expressed scepticism about the charges, particularly given the lack of due process. Mohammed Halabi, for example, was detained without charge for 50 days and alleges that he was tortured by Shin Bet officials during his interrogation. He was also denied access to a lawyer for three weeks. Read more
Last week, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) – or Shin Bet – announced serious charges against a Gaza-based Palestinian employee of the global Christian charity, World Vision.
According to Shin Bet, Mohammad el-Halabi, the head of World Vision’s Gaza office, funnelled tens of millions of dollars of aid money to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades in an elaborate, years-long scheme.
Israeli officials wasted no time in publicising allegations that boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s narrative that Hamas is exploiting naive, or nefarious, international aid groups. Read more